Activism, news makers, resistance and hope

September 21, 2022
Climate activism makes a difference
Climate activism, such as this 2020 climate rally in Sydney, do make a difference . Photo: Zebedee Parkes

One of the ways the establishment media’s bias in favour of the capitalist elite shows up is how they privilege information from governments and corporations.

Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman identified this as one of five “filters” in Manufacturing Consent, meaning the corporate media is a propaganda system rather than a news and information producer.

Covering Climate Now touched on this in a September 15 post suggesting that journalists should “pay attention to activists” because “activists can be newsmakers and should be treated as such, just like the government and corporate officials we routinely quote”.

Covering Climate Now is an international network of journalists and media organisations dedicated to improving coverage of the climate crisis in the corporate media.

Its founders acknowledged several years ago that “the media are complacent while the world burns”.

“At a time when civilization is accelerating toward disaster, climate silence continues to reign across the bulk of the US news media,” they said in 2019.

“Especially on television, where most Americans still get their news, the brutal demands of ratings and money work against adequate coverage of the biggest story of our time. Many newspapers, too, are failing the climate test…

“Instead of sleepwalking us toward disaster, the US news media need to remember their Paul Revere responsibilities — to awaken, inform, and rouse the people to action.”

Revere, a silversmith, is most famous for alerting the colonists of the impending British invasion.

Since we launched in 1991, Green Left has sought to publish social justice activists’ voices and views.

Instead of “routinely quoting” corporations and governments’ excuses for climate and economic breakdown, our focus for more than 30 years has been on being a platform for the voices of activists fighting for a just world.

Activists not only sound the alarm about injustice, they also point towards solutions.

It is not overstating the case that progressive activism is likely the only hope humanity has.

Green Left covered the 2013 report from author Naomi Klein that science is “telling us all to revolt”.

Klein highlighted the research by complex systems researcher Brad Werner presented at a 2012 conference of the American Geophysical Union.

Werner’s paper was titled “Is Earth fucked?” and, when pressed by a journalist for an answer, he answered “more or less”.

However, Werner also identified one source of hope: resistance.

In other words, he said, our hope lies in “people or groups of people” who “adopt a certain set of dynamics that does not fit within the capitalist culture”.

Green Left supports efforts to improve the corporate media’s coverage of the climate emergency, but our focus is to build an alternative. Whether denial, alarmism or individual solutions, the corporate media always work to demobilise or deny the power of activism.

Imagine if the nightly news reported the increase in carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere (alongside the latest fossil fuel projects approved by governments) instead of the dollar's exchange rates and the price of gold.

You can bet the pressure for real action would rise.

The power the media holds is an indirect reflection of the power of the people.

They spend so much time telling us lies because they want to keep us passive. They know activism and resistance at a mass scale could pose a serious threat to their climate-destroying, profits-first system.

That puts the Green Left project — to amplify and organise the voice of protest — among the most important work in the world.

Green Left is about to launch its supporter campaign. More than anything else, this gives us the foundation to continue to promote activism that can change the world.

Understanding the power of the corporate media means understanding that we need to build a counter-power, and Green Left is a critical part of that.

You can help make all the difference by signing up here, and if you have already, sign up a friend. If you can, please also make a donation to our Fighting Fund.

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